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What I drew on My Holidays

Handily, ladyofastolat has mostly written up What I did On My Holidays :  http://ladyofastolat.livejournal.com/373113.html so I don't have to.  
It was a week of adventuring in company with some old companions, from the Games of Kan-Ban-Tun to Gleen of the Seventeen Pillars, to the home of the Archmage Mirrilee in the Southern Oceans, to the dreadful underground laboratory of the mad, dead Archmage Septral, creator of Monsters.    

I drew an unfeasibly number of campaign pictures, which I shall now inflict on anyone foolish enough to click the cut. Warning!  Some of them are quite bad, and some feature people without clothes.  There are nipples!  If your workplace *really* has issues with smudgy badly-drawn charcoal nipples, then personally I think  that is utterly ridiculous and I would click just in order to make a statement about the absurdity, but YMMV.

You can click to see larger versions if you so desire. 

Firstly we met the Paramond of Gleen, in her splendid pavilion.  I quite like the pavilion, but her hands are awful.  I need to find some way of drawing detail in pastel pictures, I definitely have not got there yet. 

Here we all are in Gleen.  Gleen was mostly being played by Crete, only I added some extra towers to represent some of the Seventeen (or was it Eighteen?) Pillars of Gleen.   I really like Tarvin in this, he is the very tall, very thin, ugly person towards the left.  Tarvin's character statistics are completely in keeping with this portrait, and I think I've also managed to give it a faint air of the player as well, even though he is not in person outstandingly tall, thin or ugly. 

A Gleen closeup.  My character Keae is the little one with the spiky hair next to the left-hand goat.  The goats are not mine. They are strangely attracted to the badly-drawn mage on the right,  Note that tall, ugly Tarvin is standing next to Palug the hairy barbarian. 

This is an outtake really - while we were travelling, one of our mages fireballed a poor unsuspecting seamonster.  I like the colours of the seamonster, even if he does look a bit goofy. 

Some people insisted on tumbling along dungeons in order to avoid traps.  I am unclear about exactly how this is supposed to work, but am quite pleased with the feeling of motion.   This is Tarvin and Palug again.  It hadn't occurred to me at this point that I kept drawing them together. 

Tarvin slays a water-monster.  This looked SO MUCH better in my head, but I refuse to re-draw it - the point of these pics is that they are supposed to be quicky one-offs and some of them won't work...  Pastels!  Why can't you be more like charcoal???

Some Athaks!  These almost wiped us out.  Arguably, I should have added some party members to this picture, being trampled underfoot.   It must be really hard to swing three clubs without conking yourself one on the bonce. 

This lovely object is the Perambulating Pavilion of Pligdill.  It walks around on ostrich legs, and the inside of it is in another dimension and has its own toilet!  I want one. 

In caverns measureless to man, down by a sunless sea - we set up our tent beside the handily-glowing waters, and mooched about a bit.

This was a wallpainting we found, of an Owlbear.  The GM told me it was too cute.  But it's a cross between an owl and a bear!  How is that NOT going to be cute???

As the caption says, opening these was a... 

Ah, hmm, yes.  We went through a portal, and when we came out the other side, we had NO CLOTHES ON.   Apart from me, because I was an albatross person, so could just go bird-shape and stay warm in my feathers.

In the picture below, you can see me in albatross form, desperately trying to protect the modestly of the party.  

Shall we have a closer look? I'm quite pleased with this : apart from the humour value, I think the drawing actually isn't bad.   In this pic, Lychett on the right, with the very pert buttocks looking a bit like Jaime Lannister, is casting a light spell on a rock held by skinny, ugly Tarvin.   The rather pleased gentleman in the middle is wearing a sentient turban, which survived the portal because it's a being rather than clothes. 

Thankfully, we soon found some towels and were able to craft ourselves skirts.   Then Palug the barbarian managed to get levitated and turned into a sort of Barbarian Balloon who had to be towed along on a rope.   In this picture, I imagine the levitation didn't apply to his hair or skirt/loincloth.   That's skinny Tarvin with his 1000 ribs holding the rope. 

Among the chaos at the End of the Aeon, this happened to the mysterious powerful magical egg that Palug the tattooed barbarian had been carrying.  Oddly, nobody complained this was too cute. 

One thing that stood out about this campaign was that it was genuinely epic.  I am not sure that I enjoyed this campaign as much as some others, BUT it really brought it home to me that Epics Are Not Fun When They Happen To You.  They are like an elephant falling on your head, not like a jolly outing. 

During the actual roleplaying, it seemed a lot of the time as though we were trudging along through towns or catacombs, solving puzzles, making jokes, all fairly mundane stuff.  Several of the participants were (in real life) tired, ill and/or stroppy, and this made a normally fairly argumentative group particularly fractious.  At the end, disasters multifarious befell, including a whopping great invisible dragon, a Comet of Ultimate Evil and  a rain of dragon eggs.  

And suddenly, it all made sense.  If we had been a genuinely united party with a single purpose and an ability to trust one another's decisions and capabilities, we *might* have got to the end and been able to work together to enlist the help of the three very powerful mages we found there and get everyone working together to do something to prevent the Change of the World.   And even if it hadn't worked, we'd have felt we'd have worked together and given it a really good go.  But we were not united, we didn't trust each other, we were constantly bickering and bitching and getting bored and wandering off to try another door -  and therefore, of course the end was catastrophic.   As the party tore itself apart, all the mages died or were entombed, and the rest of us were left stuck in a changed world with an empty feeling of having been kicked in the gut. 

If you were writing it as an author, people would probably write appreciative reviews about how the divisions within the party were fleshed out and grew organically over the entire course of the work.   It was all very interesting.   It felt a little like the end of Beowulf, or the point in the Silmarillion where the Valar intervene against Morgoth (only of course we failed to request help from the Valar) : another player thought of Götterdämmerung.  I bet Götterdämmerung didn't seem like much fun at the time. 


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
5th Oct, 2011 07:08 (UTC)
The naked party and the Palug Balloon make me chuckle whenever I see them. And I do regret that poor sea monster, even though I wasn't really there at the time.

we *might* have got to the end and been able to work together to enlist the help of the three very powerful mages we found there and get everyone working together to do something to prevent the Change of the World

Or, alternatively, we might have been able to work together to help one of the very powerful mages destroy the other two, bring about a jolly good and long overdue Change of the World, then pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. :-P

It was clear that none of the characters were going to change their positions unless fresh evidence appeared - and since those positions were held because of solid in-character reasons, that's as it should be. I'd hoped that fresh, unarguable evidence would present itself just before the end, allowing us all to work together on one side or the other. The PVP ending meant that half of us were going to "lose" the entire campaign. Though, as it was, we all lost, which is probably better. :-)

One day, though, I would love to adventure in a party where all the characters like and trust each other. I thought this particular party was supposed to have adventured together for years, but I really don't know why, what with all the "I'd laugh if you died!" and "I don't trust any of you!" that we were getting from certain sides.* Next time we make characters, we need to sit on Bethran until he creates a nice, friendly, well-intentioned team player.

* Though, of course, as we know now, the insults were all just a desperate attempt to hide those unstoppable feelings of growing attraction...
5th Oct, 2011 07:25 (UTC)
And where exactly is Tarvin's right hand in the naked scene? And why does Palug look so suddenly startled? ;-)
5th Oct, 2011 07:45 (UTC)
It's all there when you look for it ;-)

I honestly didn't intend anything by it, it's just how they came out! :-D
5th Oct, 2011 08:14 (UTC)
Buttventure fandom - and Oh! what fun they'd have with that name! - will be firmly sticking their fingers in their ears and going LALALA in denial about the ending, as they write happy AUs and missing scenes in which those two indulge in... well, whatever they indulge in.
5th Oct, 2011 09:49 (UTC)
I dunno - after the ending, Palug and Tarvin are trapped together on a sunny desert island!

(OK, Alfered, Regan and Keae were there too, but I'm pretty sure an enterprising fan could easily get rid of them...)
5th Oct, 2011 07:44 (UTC)
It was clear that none of the characters were going to change their positions unless fresh evidence
I don't know about anyone else, but my character was feeling quite insecure about her position by the end, and I think could have been won round - again, nice setting-up by the non-existent author: by behaving in-character and rushing in where fools, etc, Tarvin actually pushed a potential member of his faction the other way.

Or, we might have focussed on the mysterious screeching rather than the mages first... We Will Never Know what Could have Happened!

At the time, I would have seized gratefully on some nice clear explanation, but from the point of view of epic storytelling, I am pretty sure that participants in most epics feel that way. Just how annoying must it have been to be Turin? Or, say, Cynon mab Clytno from the Goddoddin?

I am pretty clear that the only explanation for Tarvin's continued presence in the party was the unstoppable Tarvin-Palug romance.
5th Oct, 2011 08:21 (UTC)
Lychett was mostly open-minded, but meeting the Grey Men - people he's always hero worshipped and romanticised and longed to meet - pushed him quite strongly towards the side of the Enlightened.
5th Oct, 2011 08:32 (UTC)
Curses. Phone posted way before I'd finished.

Alfered's absolute certainty annoyed Lychett and made him inclined to listen favourably to Mancillio. The Grey Men pushed this a lot further. But he knew that these were only three Grey Men, not necessarily representative of the species, so could have been swayed by firm evidence. Unfortunately he
5th Oct, 2011 08:40 (UTC)
Not again!

Unfortunately he got the huge GAME OVER of an Imprisonment spell cast on him before he could jump either way in the final fight. If only we'd done a little talking before leaping in!

I was willing Pellinor to ask if Mancillio really did look the same as Gwlf, since had that been revealed as a lie, Palug mighg have switched sides, I suppose
5th Oct, 2011 09:46 (UTC)
I think someone has slipped you a Direphone of -2 against Bunn. :-D
5th Oct, 2011 12:10 (UTC)
I doubt it. If he'd not looked like Gwlf, then it could just as well be that Gwlf was a disguise or the current appearance was a disguise.

Not wise trust Gwlf. Can only trust that Gwlf cheat and lie.

Had he looked like Gwlf, though, then you might have seen reason :-)
5th Oct, 2011 10:19 (UTC)
a nice, friendly, well-intentioned team player

Now there is a rare fantasy beast, most improbable to imagine in the real world.
5th Oct, 2011 11:33 (UTC)
I like to think of all my computer game paladins as nice friendly well-intentioned team players, but I fear that their tour companions probably find them infuriating self-righteous prigs, forever turning down properly-earned rewards in a high-handed fashion.

Maybe we just need to accept that we are in fact the monsters in this world.
5th Oct, 2011 12:06 (UTC)
My PCs find them quite nice, apart from their tendency to say "well, if *I'd* talked to that NPC, *I'd* have convinced them to help us" - and their curious dislike of shopping, of course :-)
5th Oct, 2011 12:07 (UTC)
Their dislike of "shopping", and consequent irate reaction to gaining Chaos points, is rather less curious of course :-)
5th Oct, 2011 12:23 (UTC)
Perhaps if the dragon had come along on Mansilio's side before it all kicked off, perhaps because we were all talking and so on, then we would have all realised that he was a baddy. I think it would have been very hard to persuade Palug that he was a goodie, though.

To be honest, the thing that kicked it all off was Regan trapping Mirilee. Once that happened there was no time left to talk. Which just goes to show, shockingly, that there can be a party member more dangerous than Bethran.

5th Oct, 2011 15:45 (UTC)
So you take the presence of the dragon as proof that Mansilio was a baddy? I took the events of the final confrontation as proof that Mansilio was right all along, at least in his claim that the archmages were posssessed and lying to us. (Though of course, even if Mansilio was correct on that, it doesn't necessarily follow that killing them is the correct course of action and will lead to a better world. He could be correct but still hideously misguided.)

Which I guess goes to confirm that the divisions in the party were insuperable, and we all deserved to fail. :-)
5th Oct, 2011 18:29 (UTC)
Ummm... Mansilio made a gargantuan dragon demon with red eyes and abilities like Desecrate, which flew off and mated with the Comet Of Deepest Evil, resulting in a shower of dragons all across a world that had never faced an enemy more powerful than a Dog-Faced Man.

And you think he is good guy?
5th Oct, 2011 18:40 (UTC)
Alternatively, he made a nice, friendly enormous dragon, just as cute as the newly-hatched baby dragon you were so taken with, who then got led astray by the Comet of Deepest Evil and turned evil as a result. Word of God is that had the dragon turned up before Mansilio had been imprisoned, there would have been three factions around, and Dragon and Mansilio would probably not have been fighting on the same side.
5th Oct, 2011 19:40 (UTC)
I haven't a clue what this is all about but it made an entertaining read! Love the baby dragon!
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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